The National Gallery of Victoria has received a $74 million (A$100 million) donation from the family of an Australian billionaire and philanthropist to fund the construction of a new building dedicated to contemporary art despite the lack of government funding.
The new space, The Fox: NGV Contemporary, which will be located in Melbourne’s arts district will be named after donors, supply chain mogul Lindsay Fox and his wife, Paula, who sit on the board of directors of the NGV Foundation.
The government that oversees the Australian state of Victoria and its cultural sector has invested $1.3 billion (A$1.7 billion) in the expansion of the hub that houses the NGV complex. The funding was first secured in November 2020 as part of a state-backed initiative to revamp the Melbourne Southbank arts hub.
According to a report published by The Guardian.
The donation is the largest pledged to an art museum in the country by a living donor. The Fox family funded the NGV for two decades.
For the current project, the museum has secured another $20 million donation from the Ian Potter Foundation, a charity founded in 1964 by a prominent Australian financier.
The building will be the third site owned by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), which will include a 43,000 foot exhibition space with a 130 foot high circular lobby located on the South Bank behind the NGV International. Australian architecture firm Angelo Candalepas and Associates was selected to design the new space.
Major gifts from private donors have long supported the 161-year-old Melbourne Museum. Pharmacist Alfred Felton allocated half his fortune posthumously in 1904 to fund the museum.
The gift is expected to significantly expand the reach of the museum. It is estimated that the new space will attract an additional 1 million visitors to the Arts District. In a statement to ART newsmuseum director Tony Ellwood said the project will be “a global beacon for tourism and a premier cultural destination for the region”.
Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Prime Minister, described Melbourne’s museum hub transformation plan as “the biggest cultural infrastructure project ever undertaken in Australia”, in a statement announcing the plan in 2020.
In addition to exhibiting contemporary art, the new space will present works spanning the categories of design, fashion and architecture.
“We never could have imagined this level of generosity,” Ellwood remarked. “This is unprecedented in the 161-year history of our institution, as well as in Australia’s cultural sector.”